Cross-posted from our friends at MGNA…
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is finalizing plans for a year-long study to evaluate the impacts and economic development potential surrounding the proposed Green Line station at Mystic Valley Parkway and Boston Avenue on the Medford/Somerville line.
MAPC, the regional land use planning agency for the 101 cities and towns in Greater Boston, has been awarded a $209,000 contract from the state to study the station, which is proposed for Phase II of the Green Line extension project currently being planned. Phase I will extend the Green Line to College Avenue in Medford and to Union Square in Somerville by October 2015.
“First and foremost, we want to identify the key community-wide issues, concerns and questions through a robust public engagement process, and then explore and really explain in a clear and concise manner what some of the impacts are for a station at Mystic Valley Parkway,” Eric Bourassa, Manager of the MAPC’s Transportation Division, said in a presentation to the Green Line Extension Design Working Group on Monday evening.
MAPC has begun to compile that information by reviewing the public comments during the Green Line environmental impact study process, and meeting with numerous community stakeholders as well as officials from Medford, Somerville and Arlington. With those in mind, MAPC will evaluate the station with particular emphasis on future land uses in the immediate area.
“We bring a perspective to transportation that really looks at how transportation investments affect the land use around those areas, and in turn how land uses affect transportation, and that’s really what we’re going to be doing around the Mystic Valley Parkway Station,” Bourassa said.
“The real heart of the work that we’re going to be doing is understanding the future opportunities associated with transit-oriented development and economic development, and what the land use changes potentially could be.
“From that, our goal is to develop a set of recommendations for land use, zoning, housing, and the kind of transportation access elements associated with a station that would make it successful.”
The Mystic Valley Parkway station is one of four stations on the Green Line extension that were rated “high” for potential transit-oriented development in the state’s environmental impact study. The station itself would be situated on the site of the current U-Haul building at 660 Mystic Valley Parkway in Somerville. Adjacent to that property are three medium to large office buildings; a Whole Foods market, liquor store and gas station; the nine-building Walkling Court Medford Housing Authority complex; residential neighborhoods consisting of one-, two- and three-family homes; and the Mystic River Reservation.
Bourassa said MAPC plans to build its study around a series of five public meetings:
Meeting #1: Identify community-wide issues (e.g., traffic; parking; abutter concerns such as noise, vibration and air quality; gentrification; right-of-way issues).
Meeting #2: Explain and clarify community questions
Meeting #3: Evaluate community opportunities and capacity building (e.g., station access elements, economic development potential, land use and zoning, best practices for transit-oriented development).
Meeting #4: Day-long community design workshop to identify potential transit-oriented development; community assets that need to be preserved, protected or re-created; and land use preferences.
Meeting #5: Presentation of draft land use scenario report.
Bourassa said the first meeting is to be held either late in 2010 or early in 2011. Assisting MAPC in the study will be the Mass. Office of Public Collaboration, an institute of UMass-Boston, which also is helping guide the public process surrounding the Longfellow Bridge reconstruction project.
Bourassa’s PowerPoint presentation to the Design Working Group can be viewed on the Green Line extension project website.